Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

In this day of instant gratification, does anyone remember the anticipation that used to accompany a new release by a favourite artist? Have all the instant sources of music (legal or otherwise) muted the experience into nonexistence? Well if the band Fleet Foxes have anything to say about it, the answer is no.

Their new album titled, Helplessness Blues, has had fans (and the merely curious) eagerly awaiting its arrival for some time now and the final hard copy version has been more than worth the wait. It features interesting artwork, printed lyrics and some very engaging music inside. And speaking of the actual music, almost any form of digital file, MP3 or otherwise never sounds as good when the volume is raised above a whisper than the good old CD format. (Norio Ohga R.I.P.)

The music within has a hand crafted feel and studio trickery is most unobtrusive. Most of the songs are built upon the joys of the human voice and discreet instrumental backing and the included lyric sheet really adds to the experience. There are also moments of unexpected craziness to add spice to the proceedings like the quirky The Shrine/An Argument.

Fleet Foxes excel at combining the expansive with the intimate and Helplessness Blues is both warm and personal and inspiringly open. It may be old fashioned to insist on music being delivered via CD or even vinyl but the anticipation of waiting for the work’s arrival and its improved sonic presentation only make the experience that much more vivid.
Rob Hudson

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